New Focused Ion Beam Advances CryoEM at Yale

February 19, 2019

By Meaghan Sullivan: A new focused ion beam (FIB, named Aquilos from Thermo Fisher Scientific) arrived at West Campus this month, where it will be housed nearby Yale University’s Titan Krios and serve scientists from energy sciences to biochemistry. Researchers in MBB and MCDB who work on cryo-tomography will use FIBs for sample preparation. Jun Liu, MCDB professor, says “Cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) is the method of choice for visualizing native cellular landscapes with a potential to achieve near-atomic resolution.” Cryo-ET has been limited to samples thinner than 500nm, meaning eukaryotic samples must go through a thinning process. Liu is excited that “Cryo-FIB milling has emerged as the most advanced technique to produce thin vitreous sections, opening a new window to view the ultrastructure of larger cells and tissues in their native state.” Briefly, the focused ion beam mills away the sample from the top and bottom, until all that remains is a slice through the middle that is about 200-500 nm thick. Liu believes this system will “become extremely valuable for understanding many fundamental processes in cells.” Read more in this article.